The SAT (/ˌɛsˌeɪˈtiː/ ess-ay-TEE) is a standardized test widely used for college admissions in the United States. Since it was debuted by the College Board in 1926, its name and scoring have changed several times; originally called the Scholastic Aptitude Test, it was later called the Scholastic Assessment Test, then the SAT I: Reasoning Test, then the SAT Reasoning Test, then simply the SAT.
The SAT is wholly owned, developed, and published by the College Board, a private, not-for-profit organization in the United States. It is administered on behalf of the College Board by the Educational Testing Service,[3] which until recently developed the SAT as well.[4] The test is intended to assess students' readiness for college. The SAT was originally designed not to be aligned with high school curricula,[5] but several adjustments were made for the version of the SAT introduced in 2016, and College Board president, David Coleman, has said that he also wanted to make the test reflect more closely what students learn in high school with the new Common Core standards.[6]
The SAT takes three hours to finish, plus 50 minutes for the SAT with essay, and as of 2019 costs US$49.50 (US$64.50 with the optional essay), excluding late fees, with additional processing fees if the SAT is taken outside the United States.[7] Scores on the SAT range from 400 to 1600, combining test results from two 200-to-800-point sections: Mathematics, and Critical Reading and Writing. Although taking the SAT, or its competitor the ACT, is required for freshman entry to many colleges and universities in the United States,[8] many colleges and universities are experimenting with test-optional admission requirements[9] and alternatives to the SAT and ACT.[10]
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Paper-based standardized test

Developer / administrator

College Board, Educational Testing Service

Knowledge / skills tested

Writing, critical reading, mathematics


Admission to undergraduate programs of universities or colleges

Year started

1926; 94 years ago


3 hours (without the essay) or 3 hours 50 minutes (with the essay)

Score / grade range

Test scored on scale of 200–800, (in 10-point increments), on each of two sections (total 400–1600). Essay scored on scale of 2–8, in 1-point increments, on each of three criteria (total 6–24).


7 times annually

Countries / regions




Annual number of test takers

Over 2.22 million high school graduates in the class of 2019[1]

Prerequisites / eligibility criteria

No official prerequisite. Intended for high school students. Fluency in English assumed.

Prerequisites / eligibility criteria

No official prerequisite. Intended for high school students. Fluency in English assumed.


US$52.50 to US$101.50, depending on country.[2]

Scores / grades used by

Most universities and colleges offering undergraduate programs in the U.S.